Flexen hurls shutout in Double-A debut

Mets No. 24 prospect twirls five-hitter in fourth start since injury

Chris Flexen went 10-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 25 Florida State League starts last season. (Gordon Donovan/MiLB.com)

By Alex Kraft / MiLB.com | June 8, 2017 12:31 AM

Pitching off a Double-A mound for the first time, Chris Flexen put his season-opening injury firmly in the rearview mirror.

The Mets' No. 24 prospect tossed a seven-inning five-hitter, striking out six, as Binghamton beat Richmond, 3-0, to earn a split of its doubleheader on Wednesday at NYSEG Stadium.

Gameday box score

Flexen (1-0) allowed a single to Myles Schroder to open the game but retired eight of the next nine batters. The Flying Squirrels pushed back in the fourth with singles by C.J Hinojosa, Jerry Sands and Brandon Bednar, loading the bases with one out. The right-hander got Dylan Davis to hit a sharp grounder to third baseman David Thompson, who made a great play to start an inning-ending double play.

"I was just trying to make a good pitch and get a ground ball," Flexen said. "The defense really picked me up there. We were able to execute. Thompson made one heck of a play there. He really bailed me out of that jam."

Video: Binghamton's Thompson starts great DP

The 22-year-old retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth, then allowed a leadoff single to Sands in the seventh. Flexen got Bednar to ground out before striking out Davis and setting down Carlos Garcia on his 11th groundout of the night to close out the win.

"I knew I was getting close on the pitch count there," he said of the final inning. "When I went out there, I didn't try to do too much. I tried to stick within the game plan we had all game to keep the ball down. I was able to execute and make pitches."

Video: Binghamton's Flexen finishes the shutout

The complete-game shutout was the fourth by the Rumble Ponies this season and Flexen's fourth since he was selected in the 14th round of the 2012 Draft.

Flexen experienced a delayed start to the season for the second time in three years after he underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his right knee during Spring Training. He made three rehab starts with Class A Advanced St. Lucie, where he posted a 2.13 ERA over 12 2/3 innings. He said the good feeling carried over to Wednesday.

MiLB include

"Unfortunately, I've had that experience, but I knew how to handle it," Flexen said. "It was just getting back to making sure everything was sharp and making sure the body is healthy and making those rehab starts. … It's all about being patient and making sure the body is ready.

"I know my last [rehab start], I felt pretty sharp there. Pitching on my eighth day today, my arm felt pretty fresh. Like I said, anytime you go out, you're always looking to command the strike zone. I just had really good stuff tonight."

Thompson went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while Matt Oberste collected two hits and scored twice for Binghamton.

Richmond starter Cory Taylor (2-5) -- the Giants' 20th-ranked prospect -- also went the distance, yielding three runs on seven hits and two walks while fanning three.

The Flying Squirrels took the first game, 8-2, behind two homers and three RBIs from Slade Heathcott. Sands added three RBIs on a pair of doubles.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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